Know-it-alls.... Personally I hate the term. Not only it is hurtful, but it is degrading to those who really do know a lot about certain facts and subjects. An autistic person that is called a know-it-all usually isn't acting in such a way just to be an arrogant every day prick. Sure there are non-autistics who love to 'act like' a know-it-all, but usually they behave with a kind of arrogance and attitude that most autistics do not partake in just for fun in order to irritate others.
It is actually 'very common' for a high functioning autistic to know a lot of random facts, more so than the average non-autistic. Many HFA's are highly intellegent, and one may see this kind of behavior even more so when it comes down to an HFA's passionate and obsessive topics. But is it really fair to call such people know-it-all's because someone thinks the autistic knows everything? No it is not! We really do not 'know everything', nor do we waste our time and energy trying to prove to anyone that we even do!
Most autistics are pretty hurt when someone calls them names. Not only is this hurtful and degrading, but calling someone names is extremely childish. Much of this kind of name calling is due to people not truly understanding what and how autism works. Some behaviors HFA's can learn not to do to a point, while others are just pure characteristics of who the individual is and cannot be changed. It's the defining personality of the individual, and to cut a person down for being who they are is abusive and invalidating. Most HFA's are born this way and just want to be loved and accepted for the unique person they are.
Sometimes I wonder what kind of culture do we live in when hearing and learning knowledge causes some non-autistics to be so ashamed and annoyed of learning something that may be helpful or interesting? I understand we HFA's can go on way too long on certain subjects, but to us it's like a sugar rush or a type of high that makes us feel extremely good. HFA's feel ecstatic when we know a proven fact on various subjects, being born with a high IQ in various areas can be a gift but a curse when it causes HFA's to act socially abnormal around other non-autistics. We can learn not to bore the crap out of non-autistics, but we will always have some sort of social difficulties in being able to totally shut it off. It takes a lot of energy to concentrate on not doing certain behaviors, that we really do become physically and emotionally drained.
HFA's brains are wired much more different than non-autistics. In many studies, researchers are finding a variety of differences in how different autistic brains look. The biggest part of the brain, the pre-frontal cortex, being larger than the average human in many cases. It is theorized that many autistics have more neural connections via the prefrontal cortex, that causes a lot of challenging autistic behaviors, and that we obtained this difference with our brains even before birth.
So what can be done when a non-autistic assumes an HFA is acting like a know it all? There really is no simple answer. It may help to ask them how much they truly know about autism and how different each case can be. Other times, one may ask why they feel threatened by someone who may actually know (have memorized) a ton of random facts that can be very interesting to a variety of people. Now many non-autistics do not usually call HFA's a know it all, some still will and always will. Why? Some experts say it could be a self-esteem issue, or some other problem that they are having trouble dealing with themselves. The biggest problems seem to occur when a lack of autism knowledge is present., or the green eyed monster takes a hold of them much to easily.
If you would like to understand HFA more, look into attending one of our 'High Functioning Autistic Adult' support groups here in St. Cloud at the library. They meet at 7pm on Thursday nights, and visitors are always welcome. Just bring an open mind, be kind to those around you and get ready to learn more than you thought you could ever learn when it comes to understanding HFA people!